Over the years, Cards Against Humanity has executed ridiculous, headline-grabbing stunts, like the time we sold hundreds of boxes of poop, or dug a tremendous hole in the ground that went nowhere. For the 2017 holiday season, we announced our most ambitious campaign yet.
We decided to save America.
In truth, we wanted to create a national campaign that gave people something exciting and heartening to participate in. The national mood was grim. Our hope was people would have a laugh at our antics (after the year we all had, we could all use it), but we also wanted people to feel empowered, defiant, and to learn something about politics and culture.
We've always loved this quote from George Carlin: "When you're in front of an audience and you make them laugh at a new idea, you're guiding their whole being for the moment. That's when new ideas can be implanted."
On November 14th, we sent a mass email to our mailing list.
(An important note: we've never paid for this list, and rarely use it. Our email marketing strategy is to shut up until we have something to say. The result: people get really excited to open our emails and see what we've been up to.)
Our email said:
After accidentally seeing CNN on a TV at the airport, we realized our country needed us. It's time to suit up for one last mission. Cards Against Humanity is going to save America.
We opened 150,000 slots. Fans could give us $15, and we said that we'd send them six surprises in the mail. We didn't tell them what was coming next.
We worked all summer to come up with nearly a week full of politically motivated stunts.
We unveiled each day one by one on CardsAgainstHumanitySavesAmerica.com.
Here they are, in brief:
Day One: To kick off the campaign, we purchased a plot of vacant land on the US/Mexico border and hired eminent domain lawyers to make it as time–consuming and expensive as possible for the Trump Administration to build a wall there. We also built a for-real working trebuchet on the land. You know, just incase.
Day Two: We hear all the bad news, but we rarely hear the good news too. To make each day more bearable, we released a daily show called The Good News Podcast that will now run for a full year, ad-free.
Day Three: To call attention to wealth inequality in America, we took $250,000 from the campaign and gave it to people who needed it more. We sent $1,000 checks to 100 people, and interviewed recipients to hear how how receiving the money quite simply changed their lives.
Day Four: We partnered with DonorsChoose.org and gave over $100,000 worth of supplies, books, and field trips to to low-income classrooms across the country.
Day Five: We funded a public opinion poll to dive deep into the minds of the American people, and boy did we find some stuff. We're making all the data public and shareable.
Day Six: We sponsored a minor league baseball team and changed the name of their stadium to "The Cards Against Humanity Baseball Place," therefore creating the most elite fandom in sports. Go Slammers!
- All 150,000 slots sold out in under ten hours.
- Donated over $300,000 to charitable causes, including DonorsChoose.org and the Chicago Children's Museum.
- The campaign received coverage in every major news outlet, including Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, AdWeek, Business Insider, TIME, The Chicago Tribune, The AV Club, and The Huffington Post, and trended on Facebook and on Twitter.
- The Cards Against Humanity Saves America announcement video was the #1 trending video on YouTube the day of release. The video was written and produced in-house and currently has 1.5 million views on YouTube.
- FiveThirtyEight included Cards Against Humanity's Pulse of the Nation poll on their website as a permanent installation for the length of the poll.
- With their $1,000 gift, 100 families were able to purchase holiday gifts and groceries, and pay off loans and credit card bills that they wouldn't have been able to otherwise.
- We matched donations from 1,000 donors on DonorsChoose.org to fully fund 380 projects in 256 schools. We served 27,546 students in 44 states.